Giorgos Xylouris

Music Tradition of Crete. Giorgos Xylouris (Psarogiorgis) Giorgos Xylouris (or Psarogiorgis) is Crete’s leading performer of the island’s traditional music. He plays one of its favoured instruments, the lute, and sings its distinctive forms of lyric.

Giorgos grew up in the deep musical culture of Crete and is the child of a family of legendary musicians from the mountain village of Anogeia. His uncle Nikos was a major figure in the revival of Greek folk music and in the development of modern political song in the 1970s. His father, Psarandonis, continues to take traditional music in fresh directions. His uncle Psarogiannis is also a distinguished lute player. Psaragiorgos, as Giorgos is often known, has focused this inherited talent for innovative performance on the role of the lute.

Normally in an ensemble the lute provides the rhythmic backing to the lyra, which is par excellence a singer’s instrument. In this backing role Giorgos is peerless. He can build up a pace that seems almost out of control yet maintain the supple precision demanded by dancers. In the less usual role of lead instrument he has made the Cretan lute a melodic instrument to frame and adorn song.

Rizitiko - Syrtos - Giorgis Xylourisς

As well as being at home playing for traditional festivities, Giorgos is a seasoned concert performer internationally, not only in the contexts of folk and world music but also in collaboration with rock musicians. He is a compelling exponent of an unusually fertile tradition.


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